A few selected News Articles and Interviews on Grant Pecoff
Grant Pecoff selected as Featured Cover Artist for San Diego Artwalk Liberty Station
Garden Island Newspaper Cover and Artist Interview
Risen Magazine Artist Interview
Poster, T-Shirt, and Promotioal Art for Surfrider's 23rd Annual Paddle for Clean Water Event
San Diego Home & Garden Magazine
Featuring Grant Pecoff's painting of "Crimson Clouds Over A Lone Farmhouse" in a collector's home.
Grant Pecoff Exhibits at Wyland Galleries Florida
The following articles were written by Grant Pecoff and published by The Coast News during Grant's painting trips in 2001 and 2002 through Europe. These paintings were later exhibited as two series, American Artist in Europe, and Ports, Medinas, and Cafes. More to come...
The Coast News August, 2001
Encinitas Artist Begins European Trek
Since I was a youngster in high school I have dreamed of traveling through Europe to paint.
This dream included visiting the sites where the masters created, their homes and to witness the inspiration of foreign cultures.
For years I have envisioned bringing this experience back to share, to inspire, and to touch my community through my artwork. Through generous sponsors and good timing, now is my chance.
The goal of this trip is to produce a series of paintings based upon the European culture and community. I want to visit these sites I have only seen in books. I will visit the cities and back country looking for Europe’s true culture.
I especially look forward to visiting the provinces where the masters created , areas such as Van Gogh’s Aries in Southern France, Cezanne’s Provence and Greece where they sculpted monuments to the gods.
My goal is to experience similar colors and inspirations the masters experienced. I want to visit the house where Van Gogh lived and painted the Rouen Cathedral at which Monet so meticulously perfected his impressionist style.
Introducing my own style to what they have already given us, I hope to be as one of them - a traveler, a Bohemian, an inspiration, an artist!
My best friend and girlfriend, Sera, and I set off on Aug. 2, landing at London-Heathrow International Airport the next day. After visiting with family I have there, we set off for France, crossing the channel by ferry. Our itinerary currently includes the northern regions of Rouen and Conflans, loved by Monet and Van Gogh. We will then visit Paris to paint Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and of course, the outdoor cafes. We hope to come back later in the month.
Next will be the region around Montpellier in Southern France where my aunt and uncle live. This region is filled with stories and sites made known by famous painters. From there it is off to Barcelona, then back through France to London for my cousin’s wedding.
After touring London and the surrounding area for a week, we go to Amsterdam, the Van Gogh museum and Dutch architecture (love the windmills). Next we go by train to Germany to meet up with some collectors of my work and then straight through Switzerland to Italy.
We want to spend a couple of weeks going through Italy - Florence, Venice, Rome, and places “off the beaten path.” From the southern part of Italy over to Greece.
I have always been fascinated with the art and history of Greece, from Greek mythology to the Roman civilization.
Our time in Athens will be short to avoid the crowds as tourist season tapers off. Instead, we will skip from island to island in search of remote beaches and beautiful landscape and architecture to paint.
The last ferry we will ride is to Istanbul, we will visit the minarets of Hagia Sophia, the Turkish Baths, and the Great Bazaar: On Nov. 2 we will travel home from Istanbul to San Diego.
Throughout the trip, I will be painting in acrylic on canvas boards, rather than my preferred medium of oils, because acrylic is simpler and fast-drying. On my return, I plan a series of oil works based on the paintings created overseas.
Ranging in size, from 16 x 20 to 48 x 60, the series will be showing at the 101 Artist’s Colony gallery from Nov. 23 through Nov. 27. The show will reprise my journey with journal entries and original drawings produced overseas.
The sponsors for my trip through Europe include EagleCreek Backpacks, theprintmaker.net, PCH-Print Copy House, Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association and the 101 Artist’s Colony.
Travel along with me on my European quest for the light and learning of the masters. I will be sharing all I see and do with you.
The Coast News Late September, 2001
Dali, Monet and Home to England
The coast of Spain - late September.
I have always dreamed of renting a small place in a tiny village on the coast of a foreign country with nothing to do but paint, sunbathe, swim, eat, and drink. So we did it.
For one week, Cadaques, Spain was ours! The apartment was small but had all the furnishings, evan a laundry machine. One thing it didn’t have were sheets for the bed and towels. With my limited Spanish, we couldn’t understand the instructions for the laundry machine which ran a cycle for a good two hours. Oh well. We were in Cadaques!
Cadaques has a brilliant history filled with pirates and sieges. Today, fishing boats and pleasure craft fill the bay and most of the people walking in town are tourists.
Everyone in Cadaques drives scooters and it is quite common to see a mother, her two kids, and quite possibly the family dog all on the same scooter driving down the road.
The week was filled wih painting, sunbathing, and our own self-cooked meals, which I must say were very good considering the limited budget and selection.
One of the highlights of Cadaques was a puppeteer we saw performing in the main square. The kids would gather round sitting cross-legged on the floor, their parents beside them, watching intently to see what would happen next.
The puppet would interact with the kids, giving them hugs, smelling their feet. In the age of high-tech games and toys, it was a treat to see the kids just as excited by such an old-fashioned and rare art as puppetry.
With accompanying songs from “On Golden Pond” and a slight breeze rustling through the trees overhead, it would be best described as magical.
The surrealist painter, Salvador Dali’s house was located right on the water and was constructed of a series of fisherman’s huts connected over time. Dali’s paintings were no different than his living quarters.
Eclectic, with knick-knacks everywhere. We saw everything from a stuffed polar bear acting a coat rack to a poolside altar erected out of Pirelli tire memorabilia.
We saw Dali’s studio and the painting he was working on when he died. I love to see artist’s studios and to feel what it must have been like to be creating masterpieces for the whole world to see. I am not overly fond of Dali’s work, but I admire his passion and dedication.
Saying goodbye to Cadaques, we set off to catch a train to Giverny and Monet’s Gardens just outside of Paris. Unfortunately, no one had heard of Giverny, or Monet for that matter. One of the most famous painters in history and nobody has heard of him? Ridiculous.
Eventually we found our way and were in Giverny, a short time later, surrounded by tourists.
Monet’s gardens were incredible and his lily ponds were even more so. I felt as though I had stepped into one of his paintings.
Nothing had changed - the bridge, the willow trees, the lily pads floating on the surface of the water. I couldn’t believe it.
I wanted so desperately to paint these famous scenes, but knew with all the tourists clambering over the bridges and walking in front of me blocking my view, I would just end up frustrated and uninspired. I left it to my comrades and to memory.
We set off by train to Paris again and to Calais and across the channel to England.
On our way back to England, we boarded a ferry so large it was basically a floating mall. Born to a British mom, I lived in England for a year when I was a kid.
This was great! Not only would I get to see the country for which I have so many fond memories, but I get to see my family as well.
We had no idea where my grandma’s small town of Storrington was and no one we asked seemed to know of it either.
On board the ferry, we saw a group of men dressed in a wardrobe crossing between the Union Jack and German beer festival costumes. They were Moorish dancers (supposedly one of the oldest forms of dancing in the world). They were colorful, jovial, and quite entertaining.
When one of them, Martin, passed by our table, I asked if he had heard of Storrington. It turned out that he had lived in California for 25 years and married a woman form San Francisco - small world.
The whole troupe crowded around our table to help us and we finally found it. They later danced for the whole of the ship.
On the way off the ferry, we encountered two very shady looking guys who suddenly appeared out of nowhere and took a strong liking to us.
Do we look like targets? Could it be the bags under our eyes or the drool drippings from the corner of my mouth from fatigue? Probably not.
“Antoine” wore a scruffed trench coat, spiked hair, and piercings. His so-called “brother” didn’t utter a word and was allegedly afraid of flying, hence their presence on the ferry - even though “Antoine” was supposedly an “airline flight attendant that could get free tickets.” He allegedly flies to the U.S. on a regular basis. He was very loud and very hyped up, asking all sorts of questions.
“Where are you staying tonight? Where are you going tomorrow?” and occasionally hinting at sharing a room that night in Dover.
“You friend,” he said, “We friends. We both know Californians. We cool. We laugh, we share hotel. We rob you in the middle of the night, leave early, OK?”
Not OK. At this point, Sera and I gave each other looks that said “Let’s get the heck outta here.”
I knew she was freaking on the inside and my alert status was on defcon 4.
The Coast News October, 2001
Sights, Sounds of Travel Teach Perspective
To England, Holland and onto Deutschland - we filled out our landing cards for English customs while our erstwhile “friend” we nicknamed “The Terminator” couldn’t even figure his out, even though he was a flight attendant. Hmmm...seriously fishy.
We hurried through customs leaving our pursuers well behind us. I not think they were probably refugees with false passports trying to get to England. There is a growing problem with refugees from the Middle East, Asia, and Slavic countries crossing illegally to England.
We caught a taxi to some bed and breakfast sites. As usual, it was late and we were tired. When I think of Bed and Breakfasts, I think of a cute, older couple owning an off-the-beaten path, larger home converted with extra rooms and flowers adorning the house. I was wrong. At the first one we tried, B and B should have stood for bashed and bruised.
We were greeted by a boy with a fat lip and a swollen eye and a man who looked like he received a regular thrashing. We chose not to be involved in that night’s boxing match and moved on. In fear of not finding a place we finally decided on the worst place we have ever slept on our whole trip - or in our lives.
The next day we met my Nan at Worthington Station, a couple of hours south of London. It was so good to see her. She is a funny woman, whose little quirks have become more and more pronounced with age but make me love her more. She brought us home to make homemade casseroles and cup after cup of English tea. We could always count on tea to be called every couple of hours complete with treats.
The smells and tastes of her home flooded my senses with memories of when I was a boy. The rest of my family arrived a day later and brought more warmth and comfort.
I was able to get out and paint the old “Parham Church” church near Nana’s. It was built almost a 1,000 years ago and set against a windy sky filled with clouds.
On the way to my cousin’s wedding north of London, we stayed in a real B and B overnight. In the morning, the owner cooked a traditional English breakfast complete with baked beans and of course, tea. We said goodbye to my family a few days later and left for fantastic London, with its theaters, monuments, many cathedrals, and fashion.
We took in a performance of “Cats,” shopped and hung out with my sister and brother-in-law who had just arrived from Paris.
Then the day came that changed everything - September 11, 2001.
I first heard and saw the news of the tragic events of the World Trade Center when I stepped into the hotel lobby. I thought it was a movie, but this movie did not end, and it was real.
All of London was tormented as well. Makeshift altars were constructed outside of churches, there were minute silences everywhere and as I passed people on the streets I couldn’t but notice the newspaper in their hands with the news of home.
The world wasn’t safe anymore, not even in America. Traveling wasn’t safe anymore. As news came of arrests around the world our dreams of an inspiring adventure began to dissolve.
From then on, a dark cloud hung over the world and followed us. We can’t live our lives in fear, but we also need to consider the options available to be safe. We cancelled our plan to fly our of Istanbul, Turkey for fear of being Americans in a mostly Muslim country and chose Rome instead.
We booked a flight our of Heathrow, landing in Amsterdam, Netherlands. While at the airport, a three-minute silence was observed in reverence of the tragedy in New York. It was astonishing to see one of the world’s biggest airports become completely still for three minutes. I could imagine what the global community could accomplish if we all worked together.
We arrived in Amsterdam at the beginning of the weekend and soon found out every hotel was full. We finally secured our tiny room at a hotel in the center of town. The room’s prior guests didn’t return that day, didn’t pay, and left their clothes. The clerk, Avi, kindly took their things out and gave us the room. Bless him.
Amsterdam is so different than any other city I have been to. The only commonality is the plethora of languages being spoken. Just about everyone learns English at a very young age. They seem very aware of worldwide issues, politics, economy, art and innovation.
While our stores at home consist of widely dispersed corporate companies copy-catting each other, with major brands dictating our robot-like uniform, this community feeds off and inspires innovation, creativity, fashion, and independent thinking.
Life in San Diego is kickback and superb, but we tend to stick to the “norm” and the daily cycle of living we have grown accustomed to.
Was I just on my soapbox?
We visited Anne Franks house...sad and inspiring to see what the human spirit can face. I took in the Van Gogh museum and couldn’t believe my eyes. We visited coffee houses and walked the world-famous red light district...interesting.
We took long walks in downpours of rain and hail along the canals, occasionally ducking into a cafe or vegetarian restaurant. In the mornings, we got a little reminder of home with a bagel, cream cheese, tomato, and avocado. The food in Amsterdam is a medley of different ethnicities.
Everyone in Amsterdam rides bikes, from young girls with short skirts to old men, sometimes even carrying a passenger on the back.
Though we didn’t ride bikes, we almost got hit by one on many occasion.
They have an above ground train system and we abandoned trying to pay for it due to the lack of even being able to figure out how to buy a ticket. Very confusing. The next day we left for Germany.